About the role
This exciting and challenging role offers an experienced lawyer the opportunity to join ClientEarth and be a senior member of our China Programme team. Our China office is newly registered with Ministry of Public Security in June 2017, in accordance with the Overseas NGO Law. The chosen lawyer will assist with building and implementing a portfolio of legal initiatives in China.
The successful candidate will be required to master the relevant legal, commercial, and policy terrain and will play a crucial role during a growth period focused on exploring and refining proposed strategic plans across a number of work streams.
The post-holder will report to the Head of Programme based in Beijing and will work closely with other colleagues in ClientEarth offices. This role will require some overseas travel.
ClientEarth is a public interest environmental law group founded in 2006. ClientEarth brings together law, science and policy to create practical solutions to key environmental challenges. Working in partnership with civil society and policy-makers, ClientEarth is committed to securing the rights of citizens and civil society to participation, information and justice in environmental matters. In Europe and beyond, ClientEarth’s 150 strong staff includes legal experts qualified in more than ten jurisdictions based in offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw and Beijing and with lawyers in Ghana, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville. Our programmes cover environmental justice, biodiversity, climate and forests, climate and energy, and health and environment.
You will be able to research and analyze the legal and environmental landscape in China and use such research and analysis to develop and assess strategies which will advance ClientEarth’s proposed legal initiatives in China. You will be ready to lead in strategic legal thinking, advocacy and creative problem solving in a public interest law setting. More generally, you will be an excellent communicator, able to apply legal skills creatively, comfortable in conveying complex ideas to a wide variety of audiences and able to facilitate ongoing co-operation with Chinese government and other stakeholders and partners.
You will also be used to delivering independent self-motivated work on an ongoing basis. Ideally, you will be familiar with or have worked with the Chinese legal system (in government, law or business). Knowledge of environmental legislation is highly desirable.
More generally, you will be adaptable, resilient and able to take initiative to collaborate with others to develop relationships and strategies. You are also committed to environmental issues and to urgent action on climate change.
You will have an excellent academic record (including a law degree) and you will be fluent in Mandarin. Fluency in verbal and written English is highly desirable. Demonstrated inter-cultural skills and familiarity with the Chinese government and environmental civil society are also highly desirable.
ClientEarth’s China Environmental Governance Programme
The Chinese government is currently revamping its system of environmental governance and laws, emphasizing greater government transparency, strengthening public supervision and incorporating rule of law principles.
In 2016 ClientEarth carried out a scoping analysis to better understand the opportunities for strengthening environmental governance and rule of law in China. We also implemented a strong series of cooperation activities with government and the judiciary, which successfully contributed to establishing relations at a very high level, putting ClientEarth in a unique position to help China create a strong, modern, and robustly enforceable environmental and climate law regime. Our activities include:
· The Ministry of Ecology and Environmental Protection (MEE) – our programme aims to provide support to MEE in drafting better environmental laws and regulations, with an emphasis on the role of civil society. This also includes support to better implementation and enforcement, through capacity building of environmental officials, assessments of the implementation of existing laws and regulations, and engagement with lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and domestic NGOs.
· The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) – our programme aims to provide support with the drafting of better ‘judicial interpretations’, and to train environmental judges and prosecutors.
Activities include international seminars, assessments of implementation of existing laws and regulations, trainings, exchange visits, comparative studies, etc.
The position reports to the Head of Programme (China), and closely cooperate with the London-based lawyer.
The role will focus primarily on identifying and strategically developing legal programmes and supporting their implementation, to accelerate the transition to an environmentally friendly and low-carbon world. More specifically, the role will include:
· Collating and assimilating the findings generated through the scoping period to build a thorough and comprehensive strategy around opportunities for legal initiatives, interventions and impact in China;
· Preparation of high quality written work and ensuring that work products prepared by team members, consultants, and/or counterparts is of the highest professional standard, and delivered on a timely basis;
· Identifying and developing relationships with key contacts within the field and maintaining working relationships with key partners such as government counterparts, NGOs, lawyers, science and policy experts, journalists, etc;
· Implementing work plans with government counterparts, consultants and/or external partners;
· Ensuring the production of high quality written work product tailored to a wide variety of legal, policy, government, civil society and interdisciplinary audiences;
· Participating in formal and informal forums and groups, and representing ClientEarth’s thinking and analysis in external forums;
· Contributing to the development of capacity building events and workshops foreseen under the scoping project in China.
The multi-year programme includes commencing activity across the various work streams, such as providing assistance with the drafting of better environmental laws and regulations, and capacity building activities with the judiciary, as well as contributing to the ongoing strategic development of ClientEarth’s work streams in China more generally.
Experience & knowledge
· Fluent verbal and written communication skills in both Mandarin and English;
· At least 5 years legal experience in (a) relevant role(s);
· Relevant in-depth experience and/or knowledge of Chinese working, business and legal principles and practices, either in a legal or business context in government, corporate or NGO spheres.
· Fluent verbal and written communication skills in English;
· Sound knowledge of relevant legal frameworks in China including new environmental legislation;
· An interest in or an understanding of environmental or climate law;
· Experience working in government, judiciary, or legislature, and/or closely cooperating with such counterparts;
· Experience in developing environmental legislation;
· Experience in legal capacity building activities;
· Experience in litigation and other legal intervention methods.
Competencies and skills
· Ability to think and plan strategically, and to break complex issues and strategies into defined, outcome-oriented activities;
· Excellent creative, critical and lateral thinking and analytical skills and ability to grasp quickly new concepts and areas of law with an openness to learning and new ideas;
· Excellent organisational skills, able to set priorities and manage multiple tasks and react positively in light of shifting and competing timeline;
· Excellent legal research, analysis, writing, advisory and advocacy skills and interest in performing rigorous legal analysis in support of outcome-driven work;
· Excellent written and oral communication skills to give authoritative advice and influence external audiences, to adapt language, content and style to make communications relevant to policy-makers, funders and other stakeholders;
· Confident working with and assimilating complex technical, commercial, political and legal material as the basis for a big picture understanding of problems, intervention points and possible solutions;
· Ability to engage constructively with and develop relationships with a range of external stakeholders in government, industry and civil society and represent ClientEarth confidently;
· Ability to interact with people in a multi-disciplinary and multicultural environment;
· Excellent commercial and practical judgement and diplomacy;
· Motivated to achieve results and ability to spot and take advantage of opportunities to achieve change;
· Organised, reliable, flexible, poised, dynamic, self-motivated.
· Law degree or equivalent / relevant legal professional qualification
This position will be based in Beijing and will require some travel within China and overseas.
ClientEarth China provides a comprehensive benefits package, including competitive salary depending on experience and generous vacation.
Please send your CV and a cover letter explaining your interest in joining ClientEarth and the contribution you believe you could make to the organisation. Please make sure you demonstrate how you meet the criteria and competencies of the role.
Please include Lawyer – China Project in the email subject line, and identify the documents you are sending by including ‘[your name] Lawyer – China cover letter’ and ‘[your name] CV’ in the file name.
Please address your application by email to: email@example.com
Applications close on 21 September 2018.
ClientEarth aims to be an equal opportunity employer and is determined to ensure that no applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment.